Marino Marini (1901-1980) Acrobati e cavallo 33 x 23 3/8 in (83.8 x 59.3 cm)
Lot 21
Marino Marini
(1901-1980)
Acrobati e cavallo 33 x 23 3/8 in (83.8 x 59.3 cm)
Sold for US$ 150,000 inc. premium

Impressionist & Modern Art

15 May 2018, 17:00 EDT

New York

Lot Details
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF MRS. JANE RAU
Marino Marini (1901-1980)
Acrobati e cavallo
signed 'Marino' (lower right)
oil, gouache, pen and ink on paper
33 x 23 3/8 in (83.8 x 59.3 cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Richard G. Sussman, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 14 March 1959, lot 83.
    Robert Rau, New York (acquired at the above sale).
    Thence by descent.

    Please note that this work will be presented at the forthcoming committee meeting of the Fondazione Marino Marini on 20 May 2018.

    Acrobati e cavallo is a magnificent amalgamation of two of Marini's favorite themes: that of the horse and rider and theatricality. Renowned for his figurative sculptures depicting a horse and rider, Marini was also influenced by the theater and his paintings are often populated with dancers, acrobats, jugglers and circus performers. Fascinated with the images of harlequins and circus performers, Marini's Acrobati e cavallo depicts an acrobat standing alongside a horse and rider, an image that recalls Pablo Picasso's Rose period painting of a boy with a horse, Jeune garçon au cheval (1905-06). Both Picasso's Jeune garçon au cheval and the present work are imbued with a similar mixture of playfulness and pathos.

    Rendered in a symphony of cool greys balanced amidst hues of blue and yellow, Acrobati e cavallo exemplifies Marini's penchant for the richness of painting and the freedom it allowed him. The artist commented: "Painting is a vision of color. Painting means entertaining the poetry of fact; and in the process of its making the fact becomes true. In color, I looked for the beginning of each new idea. Whether one should call it painting or drawing, I do not know" (quoted in S. Hunter, Marino Marini, The Sculpture, New York, 1993, p. 37). The joy Marini found in the medium of painting is evident in the thickly applied impasto of the present work, and the proud posturing of his figures that give forth a sense of grandeur and nostalgia for the classical world.

    Despite its medium, Acrobati e cavallo has a renowned sense of sculptural solidity, and the variety of texture in the present work recalls Marini's sculptures of the same period. In his later years, Marini explained the evolution of the horse and rider in his work, noting how the cavaliere evolved in response to world events. "Equestrian statues have always served, through the centuries, a kind of epic purpose. They set out to exalt a triumphant hero.... but the nature of the relationship which existed for centuries between man and the horse has changed, whether we think of the beast of burden that the ploughman leads to the drinking trough in a painting by the brothers Le Nain, or of the Percherons ridden by the horse-traders in Rosa Bonheur's famous picture, or again of the stallion that rears as it is spurred by one of the cavalry men paintings by Géricault or Delacroix. In the past fifty years, this ancient relationship between man and beast has been entirely transformed. The horse has been replaced, in its economic and military functions, by the machine, the tractor, the automobile or the tank. It has become a prime symbol of sport or of decadent luxury, and, in the minds of most of our contemporaries, it is rapidly becoming a kind of lost myth" (quoted, ibid. p. 24).
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